Ribs, rides and REO Speedwagon

Ribs, rides and REO Speedwagon

Posted by Sean Stangland on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 15:47

The summer festival season is almost upon us, and with it comes the seemingly endless parade of nostalgia acts that bring the baby-boomers out to hear familiar old tunes while they're chomping on corn.

The lineup for Frontier Days in Arlington Heights was released today, and it perfectly sums up the suburban festival experience: You got your washed-up hair-rockers (Night Ranger), your mostly forgotten AOR band (Little River Band), your younger-skewing power-pop band with extremely local appeal (Dot Dot Dot), your ever-present Beatles tribute band (American English, which I swear has played every festival in the history of the Northwest suburbs), and your lame excuse for a local rock god (Dennis DeYoung, thankfully playing music from Styx, and not from his "Hunchback of Notre Dame" musical). All that's missing from the lineup is Mike & Joe.

Probably the biggest and best festival in these parts is Naperville's Ribfest, where I saw Hootie & the Blowfish a few summers ago. This year's lineup is predictably vanilla -- REO Speedwagon and Foghat?!?! -- but does contain one bona fide country music star of today in Trace Adkins. Other festivals might get the occasional pop star or "American Idol" reject, but we're never going to see a world-class band play the Taste of Wheeling when they could be selling out theaters or arenas.

So who can we expect to see at Riverfest Express or Downtown Palatine Street Fest in 15 or 20 years? I can picture a fat, bloated Stephan Jenkins leading a bunch of 50-somethings in doot-doot-dooting along with Third Eye Blind. If Rob Thomas can survive his inevitable regression into drug addiction, maybe Matchbox Twenty will be rocking in the 'burbs. Perhaps a frail Lisa Loeb will strum her acoustic guitar from a wheelchair. The summer festival superstars, the big draws that will come every year, will almost certainly be the more successful "American Idol" contestants; Kelly Clarkson seems destined for the festival stage, as do Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks. Heck, the three of them could probably tour together on the summer circuit. And instead of American English, the summer festivals of the future will be hosting the tribute bands that currently tour the bar circuit -- Elevation (U2), Tripping Billies (Dave Matthews Band) and Battery (Metallica).

Who else can you picture on stage while kids ride the Zipper and grandpa eats too many ribs?

Comments ()
We are now using Facebook comments to offer a more inclusive, social and constructive discussion. Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our or terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.